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NY PUBLIC LIBRARY 





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FA!"Y TALES 

W " 



REFERENCE A^< 



THE 

HAPPY 

PRINCE 

AND 
OTHER 



TALES 





THE KING OF THE MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

And Other Tales 
BY OSCAR WILDE 

Illustrated by CHARLES ROBINSON 




NEW YORK: BRENTANO'S 



First published by David Nutt, May, 1888 

Rt printed January, 1889 ; February, 1902 ; 
September, 1905 ; February, 1907 ; March, 1908 ; 
March, 1910 

Reset and published by arrangement with David Nutt 
by Duckworth & Co., 1920 

Special Edition, reset. With illustrations by Charles 
Robinson, published by arrangement with David Nutt 
by Duckworth &f Co., 1913. Reprinted 1920 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN 

BY HAZELL, WATSON AND VINEY, LD., 

LONDON AND AYLESBURY. 



vfl. 



CARLOS BLACKER 




CONTENTS 




THE HAPPY PRINCE - 



Page 
15 



THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE- 41 




THE SELFISH GIANT - 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 



59 

73 
105 



1 t 

\ i 



\ 




LIST OF COLOUR PLATES 

THE KING OF THE MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON Frontis. 

Facing page 

THE PALACE OF SANS-SOUCI 20 

THE LOVELIEST OF THE QUEEN'S MAIDS OF 

HONOUR - 26 

THER.ICH MAKINGMERRY INTHEIR BEAUTIFUL 
HOUSES WHILE THE BEGGARS WERE SlTTING 
AT THE GATES 32 

SHE WILL PASS ME BY 42 

His LIPS ARE SWEET AS HONEY 48 

IN EVERY TREE HE COULD SEE THERE WAS A 

LITTLE CHILD - 64 

THE LITTLE BOY HE HAD LOVED - 68 

THE GREEN LINNET - 

HANS IN HIS GARDEN 

THE RUSSIAN PRINCESS- - 106 

"LET THE FIREWORKS BEGIN," SAID 

THE KING ----- 122 




THE 

HAPPY 

PRINCE 




i ! 
I \ 



j 





THE HAPPY PRINCE 

IGH above the city, on a tall 
column, stood the statue 
of the Happy Prince. He 
was gilded all over with 
thin leaves of fine gold, 
for eyes he had two bright 
sapphires, and a large red 
ruby glowed on his sword-hilt. 

He was very much admired indeed. " He 

is as beautiful as a weathercock," remarked 

15 





THE HAPPY PRINCE 

one of the Town Councillors who wished to 
gain a reputation for having artistic tastes ; 
" only not quite so useful," he added, fearing 
lest people should think him unpractical, 
which he really was not. 

" Why can't you be like the Happy Prince?' 
asked a sensible mother of her little boy who 
was crying for the moon. "The Happy Prince 
never dreams of crying for anything." 

"I am glad there is some one in the world 
who is quite happy," muttered a disappointed 
man as he gazed at the wonderful statue. 

" He looks just like an angel," said the 
Charity Children as they came out of the 
cathedral in their bright scarlet cloaks and 
their clean white pinafores. 

" How do you know ? ' said the Mathema- 
tical Master, u you have never seen one." 

" Ah ! but we have, in our dreams," an- 
swered the children ; and the Mathematical 



16 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

Master frowned and looked very severe, for he 
did not approve of children dreaming. 

One night there flew over the city a little 
Swallow. His friends had gone away to 
Egypt six weeks before, but he had stayed 
behind, for he was in love with the most 
beautiful Reed. He had met her early in the 
spring as he was flying down the river after 
a big yellow moth, and had been so attracted 
by her slender waist that he had stopped to 
talk to her. 

" Shall I love you ? ' said the Swallow, who 
liked to come to the point at once, and the 
Reed made him a low bow. So he flew 
round and round her, touching the water with 
his wings, and making silver ripples. This 
was his courtship, and it lasted all through the 
summer. 

" It is a ridiculous attachment," twittered 
the other Swallows ; " she has no money, and 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

far too many relations ; ' and indeed the river 
was quite full of Reeds. Then, when the 
autumn came they all flew away. 

After they had gone he felt lonely, and 
began to tire of his lady-love. " She has no 
conversation," he said, " and I am afraid that 
she is a coquette, for she is always flirting with 
the wind." And certainly, whenever the 
wind blew, the Reed made the most graceful 
curtseys. " I admit that she is domestic," he 
continued, " but I love travelling, and my 
wife, consequently, should love travelling also." 

" Will you come away with me ? ' he said 
finally to her ; but the Reed shook her head, 
she was so attached to her home. 

" You have been trifling with me," he cried. 
" I am ofT to the Pyramids. Good-bye ! : 
and he flew away. 

All day long he flew, and at night-time he 
arrived at the city. " Where shall I put up ? ' 



18 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

he said ; " I hope the town has made prepara- 

^.' > 
tions. 

Then he saw the statue on the tall column. 

" I will put up there," he cried ; " it is a fine 
position, with plenty of fresh air." So he 
alighted just between the feet of the Happy 
Prince. 

" I have a golden bedroom," he said softly 
to himself as he looked round, and he pre- 
pared to go to sleep ; but just as he was putting 
his head under his wing a large drop of water 
fell on him. " What a curious thing ! ' he 
cried ; " there is not a single cloud in the sky, 
the stars are quite clear and bright, and yet 
it is raining. The climate in the north of 
Europe is really dreadful. The Reed used to 
like the rain, but that was merely her selfishness." 

Then another drop fell. 

" What is the use of a statue if it cannot 
keep the rain off"? " he said ; " I must look for 



19 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

a good chimney-pot," and he determined to 
fly away. 

But before he had opened his wings, a third 
drop tell, and he looked up, and saw- 
Ah ! what did he see ? 

The eyes of the Happy Prince were filled 
with tears, and tears were running down his 
golden cheeks. His face was so beautiful in 
the moonlight that the little Swallow was filled 
with pity. 

" Who are you ? ' he said. 

" I am the Happy Prince." 

" Why are you weeping then ? ' asked the 
Swallow ; " you have quite drenched me." 

" When I was alive and had a human heart," 
answered the statue, " I did not know what 
tears were, for I lived in the Palace of Sans- 
Souci, where sorrow is not allowed to enter. 
In the daytime I played with my companions 
in the garden, and in the evening I led the 



20 




THE PALACE OF SANS-SOUCI 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

dance in the Great Hall. Round the garden 
ran a very lofty wall, but I never cared to ask 
what lay beyond it, everything about me was 
so beautiful. My courtiers called me the 
Happy Prince, and happy indeed I was, if 
pleasure be happiness. So I lived, and so 
I died. And now that I am dead they have 
set me up here so high that I can see all the 
ugliness and all the misery of my city, and 
though my heart is made of lead yet I cannot 
choose but weep." 

" What ! is he not solid gold ? ' said the 
Swallow to himself. He was too polite to 
make any personal remarks out loud. 

" Far away," continued the statue in a low 
musical voice, " far away in a little street there 
is a poor house. One of the windows is open, 
and through it I can see a woman seated at 
a table. Her face is thin and worn, and she 
has coarse, red hands, all pricked by the needle, 



21 




THE HAPPY PRINCE 

for she is a seamstress. She is embroidering 
passion-flowers on a satin gown for the loveliest 
of the Queen's maids-ot-honour to wear at the 
next Court-ball. In a bed in the corner of 
the room her little boy is lying ill. He has 
a fever, and is asking for oranges. His mother 
has nothing to give him but river water, so he 
is crying. Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow, 
will you not bring her the ruby out of my 
sword-hilt? My feet are fastened to this pedestal 
and I cannot move." 

" I am waited for in Egypt," said the Swallow. 
" My friends are flying up and down the Nile, 
and talking to the large lotus-flowers. Soon 
they will go to sleep in the tomb of the great 
King. The King is there himself in his painted 
coffin. He is wrapped in yellow linen, and 
embalmed with spices. Round his neck is 
a chain of pale green jade, and his hands are 
like withered leaves." 



22 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

" Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said 
the Prince, " will you not stay with me for 
one night, and be my messenger? The boy is 
so thirsty, and the mother so sad." 

" I don't think I like boys," answered the 
Swallow. " Last summer, when I was staying 
on the river, there were two rude boys, the 
miller's sons, who were always throwing stones 
at me. They never hit me, of course ; we 
swallows fly far too well for that, and besides, 
I come of a family famous for its agility ; but 
still, it was a mark of disrespect." 

But the Happy Prince looked so sad that 
the little Swallow was sorry. " It is very cold 
here," he said ; " but I will stay with you for 
one night, and be your messenger." 

"Thank you, little Swallow," said the Prince. 

So the Swallow picked out the great ruby 
from the Prince's sword, and flew away with 
it in his beak over the roofs of the town. 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

He passed by the cathedral tower, where 
the white marble angels were sculptured. He 
passed by the palace and heard the sound of 
dancing. A beautiful girl came out on the 
balcony with her lover. " How wonderful the 
stars are," he said to her, " and how wonderful 
is the power of love ! 

a I hope my dress will be ready in time for 
the State-ball," she answered ; " I have ordered 
passion-flowers to be embroidered on it ; but 
the seamstresses are so lazy." 

He passed over the river, and saw the 
lanterns hanging to the masts of the ships. 
He passed over the Ghetto, and saw the old 
Jews bargaining with each other, and weighing 
out money in copper scales. At last he came 
to the poor house and looked in. The boy 
was tossing feverishly on his bed, and the 
mother had fallen asleep, she was so tired. In 
he hopped, and laid the great ruby on the 




THE HAPPY PRINCE 

table beside the woman's thimble. Then he 
flew gently round the bed, fanning the boy's 
forehead with his wings. " How cool I feel ! ' 
said the boy, " I must be getting better ; ' and 
he sank into a delicious slumber. 

Then the Swallow flew back to the Happy 
Prince, and told him what he had done. " It 
is curious," he remarked, " but I feel quite 
warm now, although it is so cold." 

a That is because you have done a good 
action," said the Prince. And the little 
Swallow began to think, and then he fell 
asleep. Thinking always made him sleepy. 

When day broke he flew down to the 
river and had a bath. " What a remark- 
able phenomenon said the Professor of 
Ornithology as he was passing over the 
bridge. u A swallow in winter ! ' And he 
wrote a long letter about it to the local 
newspaper. Every one quoted it, it was 




THE HAPPY PRINCE 




full of so many words that they could not 
understand. 

" To-night I go to Egypt," said the Swallow, 
and he was in high spirits at the prospect. 
He visited all the public monuments, and sat 
a long time on top of the church steeple. 
Wherever he went the Sparrows chirruped, 
and said to each other, " What a distinguished 
stranger ! ' so he enjoyed himself very much. 

When the moon rose he flew back to the 
Happy Prince. " Have you any commissions 
for Egypt ? ' he cried ; " I am just starting." 

" Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said 
the Prince, " will you not stay with me one 
night longer ? ' 

" I am waited for in Egypt," answered the 
Swallow. " To-morrow my friends will fly 
up to the Second Cataract. The river-horse 
couches there among the bulrushes, and on 
a great granite throne sits the God Memnon. 




THE LOVELIEST OF THE (JUEEN'S MAIDS OF HONOUR 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

All night long he watches the stars, and when 
the morning star shines he utters one cry of 
joy, and then he is silent. At noon the yellow 
lions come down to the water's edge to drink. 
They have eyes like green beryls, and their 
roar is louder than the roar of the cataract." 

" Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said 
the Prince, " far away across the city I see 
a young man in a garret. He is leaning over 
a desk covered with papers, and in a tumbler 
by his side there is a bunch of withered violets. 
His hair is brown and crisp, and his lips are 
red as a pomegranate, and he has large and 
dreamy eyes. He is trying to finish a play 
for the Director of the Theatre, but he is too 
cold to write any more. There is no fire in 
the grate, and hunger has made him faint." 

" I will wait with you one night longer," 
said the Swallow, who really had a good heart. 
" Shall I take him another ruby ? ' 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

" Alas ! I have no ruby now," said the 
Prince ; " my eyes are all that I have left. 
They are made of rare sapphires, which were 
brought out of India a thousand years ago. 
Pluck out one of them and take it to him. 
He will sell it to the jeweller, and buy food 
and firewood, and finish his play." 

" Dear Prince," said the Swallow, " I cannot 
do that " ; and he began to weep. 

" Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said 
the Prince, " do as I command you." 

So the Swallow plucked out the Prince's 
eye, and flew away to the student's garret. 
It was easy enough to get in, as there was 
a hole in the roof. Through this he darted, 
and came into the room. The young man 
had his head buried in his hands, so he did 
not hear the flutter of the bird's wings, and 
when he looked up he found the beautiful 
sapphire lying on the withered violets. 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

"I am beginning to be appreciated," he cried; 
" this is from some great admirer. Now I can 
finish my play," and he looked quite happy. 

The next day the Swallow flew down to 
the harbour. He sat on the mast of a large 
vessel and watched the sailors hauling big 
chests out of the hold with ropes. " Heave 
a-hoy ! ' they shouted as each chest came up. 
" I am going to Egypt ! ' cried the Swallow, 
but nobody minded, and when the moon rose 
he flew back to the Happy Prince. 

" I am come to bid you good-bye," he 
cried. 

" Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said 
the Prince, " will you not stay with me one 
night longer ? : 

" It is winter," answered the Swallow, " and 
the chill snow will soon be here. In Egypt 
the sun is warm on the green palm-trees, and 
the crocodiles lie in the mud and look lazily 




THE HAPPY PRINCE 

about them. My companions are ouilding 
a nest in the Temple of Baalbec, and the pink 
and white doves are watching them, and cooing 
to each other. Dear Prince, I must leave you, 
but I will never forget you, and next spring 
I will bring you back two beautiful jewels in 
place of those you have given away. The 
ruby shall be redder than a red rose, and the 
sapphire shall be as blue as the great sea." 

" In the square below," said the Happy 
Prince, " there stands a little match-girl. She 
has let her matches fall in the gutter, and they 
are all spoiled. Her father will beat her if 
she does not bring home some money, and 
she is crying. She has no shoes or stockings, 
and her little head is bare. Pluck out my 
other eye and give it to her, and her father 
will not beat her." 

" I will stay with you one night longer," 
said the Swallow, " but I cannot pluck out 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

your eye. You would be quite blind then." 

" Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the 
Prince, " do as I command you." 

So he plucked out the Prince's other eye, 
and darted down with it. He swooped past 
the match-girl, and slipped the jewel into the 
palm of her hand. " What a lovely bit of 
glass ! ' cried the little girl ; and she ran home, 
laughing. 

Then the Swallow came back to the Prince. 
" You are blind now," he said, " so I will stay 
with you always." 

" No, little Swallow," said the poor Prince, 
" you must go away to Egypt." 

" I will stay with you always," said the 
Swallow, and he slept at the Prince's feet. 

All the next day he sat on the Prince's 
shoulder, and told him stories of what he had 
seen in strange lands. He told him of the 

red ibises, who stand in long rows on the 

31 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

banks of the Nile, and catch gold-fish in their 
beaks ; of the Sphinx, who is as old as the 
world itself, and lives in the desert, and knows 
everything; of the merchants, who walk slowly 
by the side of their camels and carry amber 
beads in their hands ; of the King of the 
Mountains of the Moon, who is as black as 
ebony, and worships a large crystal ; of the 
great green snake that sleeps in a palm tree, 
and has twenty priests to feed it with honey- 
cakes ; and of the pygmies who sail over a big 
lake on large flat leaves, and are always at war 
with the butterflies. 

" Dear little Swallow," said the Prince, " you 
tell me of marvellous things, but more marvel- 
lous than anything is the suffering of men and 
of women. There is no Mystery so great as 
Misery. Fly over my city, little Swallow, and 
tell me what you see there." 

So the Swallow flew over the great city, and 




THE RICH MAKING MERRY IX THEIR BEAUTIFUL HOUSES, WHILE THE 
BEGGARS WERE SITTING AT THE GATES 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

saw the rich making merry in their beautiful 
houses, while the beggars were sitting at the 
gates. He flew into dark lanes, and saw the 
white faces of starving children looking out 
listlessly at the black streets. Under the arch- 
way of a bridge two little boys were lying in 
one another's arms to try and keep themselves 
warm. a How hungry we are ! they said. 
" You must not lie here," shouted the Watch- 
man, and they wandered out into the rain. 

Then he flew back and told the Prince 
what he had seen. 

a I am covered with fine gold," said the 
Prince, " you must take it off, leaf by leaf, 
and give it to my poor ; the living always 
think that gold can make them happy." 

Leaf after leaf of the fine gold the Swallow 
picked off, till the Happy Prince looked quite 
dull and grey. Leaf after leaf of the fine gold 
he brought to the poor, and the children's 



33 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

faces grew rosier, and they laughed and played 
games in the street. " We have bread now ! : 
they cried. 

Then the snow came, and after the snow 
came the frost. The streets looked as if they 
were made of silver, they were so bright and 
glistening ; long icicles like crystal daggers 
hung down from the eaves of the houses, 
everybody went about in furs, and the little 
boys wore scarlet caps and skated on the 
ice. 

The poor little Swallow grew colder and 
colder, but he would not leave the Prince, he 
loved him too well. He picked up crumbs 
outside the baker's door when the baker was 
not looking, and tried to keep himself warm 
by flapping his wings. 

But at last he knew that he was going to 
die. He had just strength to fly up to the 
Prince's shoulder once more. " Good-bye, 



34 



THE HAPPY PRINCE 

dear Prince ! : he murmured, " will you let 
me kiss your hand ? ' 

" I am glad that you are going to Egypt at 
last, little Swallow," said the Prince, " you 
have stayed too long here ; but you must kiss 
me on the lips, for I love you." 

" It is not to Egypt that I am going," said 
the Swallow. " I am going to the House of 
Death. Death is the brother of Sleep, is he not? ' 

And he kissed the Happy Prince on the 
lips, and fell down dead at his feet. 

At that moment a curious crack sounded 
inside the statue, as if something had broken. 
The fact is that the leaden heart had snapped 
right in two. It certainly was a dreadfully 
hard frost. 

Early the next morning the Mayor was 
walking in the square below in company with 
the Town Councillors. As they passed the 
column he looked up at the statue : " Dear 



35 




THE HAPPY PRINCE 

me ! how shabby the Happy Prince looks ! ' 
he said. 

" How shabby, indeed ! cried the Town 
Councillors, who always agreed with the 
Mayor ; and they went up to look at it. 

" The ruby has fallen out of his sword, his 
eyes are gone, and he is golden no longer," 
said the Mayor ; " in fact, he is little better 
than a beggar ! ' 

" Little better than a beggar," said the 
Town Councillors. 

a And here is actually a dead bird at his 
feet ! ' continued the Mayor. " We must 
really issue a proclamation that birds are not 
to be allowed to die here." And the Town 
Clerk made a note of the suggestion. 

So they pulled down the statue of the 

Happy Prince. " As he is no longer beautiful 

| he is no longer useful," said the Art Professor 

at the University. 

36 




THE HAPPY PRINCE 

Then they melted the statue in a furnace, 
and the Mayor held a meeting of the Corpora- 
tion to decide what was to be done with the 
metal. " We must have another statue, of 
course," he said, u and it shall be a statue of 
myself." 

u Of myself," said each of the Town 
Councillors, and they quarrelled. When 
I last heard of them they were quarrelling 
still. 

" What a strange thing ! ' said the overseer 
of the workmen at the foundry. " This broken 
lead heart will not melt in the furnace. We 
must throw it away." So they threw it on a 
dust-heap where the dead Swallow was also 
lying. 

" Bring me the two most precious things 
in the city," said God to one of His Angels ; 
and the Angel brought Him the leaden heart 
and the dead bird. 

37 




THE HAPPY PRINCE 

" You have rightly chosen," said God, " for 
in my garden of Paradise this little bird shall 
sing for evermore, and in my city of gold the 
Happy Prince shall praise me." 




THE 

NIGHTINGALE 
AND 

THE 
ROSE 






THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE 

ROSE 

HE said that she would 
dance with me if I brought 
her red roses," cried the 
young Student ; " but in 
all my garden there is no 
red rose." 

From her nest in the 
holm-oak tree the Nightingale heard him, 
and she looked out through the leaves, and 
wondered. 




41 



F 




THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 

" No red rose in all my garden ! ' he cried, 
and his beautiful eyes filled with tears. " Ah, 
on what little things does happiness depend ! 
I have read all that the wise men have written, 
and all the secrets of philosophy are mine, yet 
for want of a red rose is my life made wretched." 

" Here at last is a true lover," said the Night- 
ingale. " Night after night have I sung of him, 
though I knew him not : night after night have 
I told his story to the stars, and now I see him. 
His hair is dark as the hyacinth-blossom, and 
his lips are red as the rose of his desire ; but 
passion has made his face like pale ivory, and 
sorrow has set her seal upon his brow." 

" The Prince gives a ball to-morrow night," 
murmured the young Student, " and my love 
will be of the company. If I bring her a red 
rose she will dance with me till dawn. If I 
bring her a red rose, I shall hold her in my arms, 
and she will lean her head upon my shoulder, 














'SHE \VII.I, PASS .MR BY" 



THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 

and her hand will be clasped in mine. But 
there is no red rose in my garden, so I shall sit 
lonely, and she will pass me by. She will have 
no heed of me, and my heart will break." 

" Here indeed is the true lover," said the 
Nightingale. " What I sing ol, he suffers : 
what is joy to me, to him is pain. Surely Love 
is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than 
emeralds, and dearer than fine opals. Pearls 
and pomegranates cannot buy it, nor is it set 
forth in the market-place. It may not be pur- 
chased of the merchants, nor can it be weighed 
out in the balance for gold." 

" The musicians will sit in their gallery," 
said the young Student, " and play upon their 
stringed instruments, and my love will dance to 
the sound of the harp and the violin. She will 
dance so lightly that her feet will not touch the 
floor, and the courtiers in their gay dresses will 
throng round her. But with me she will not 



43 



THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 

dance, for I have no red rose to give her; " and 
he flung himself down on the grass, and buried 
his face in his hands, and wept. 

" Why is he weeping ? ' asked a little Green 
Lizard, as he ran past him with his tail in the air. 

" Why, indeed ? ' said a Butterfly, who was 
fluttering about after a sunbeam. 

" Why, indeed ? ' whispered a Daisy to his 
neighbour, in a soft, low voice. 

" He is weeping for a red rose," said the 
Nightingale. 

" For a red rose ? ' they cried ; " how very 
ridiculous ! ' and the little Lizard, who was 
something of a cynic, laughed outright. 

But the Nightingale understood the secret of 

5* the Student's sorrow, and she sat silent 
in the oak-tree, and thought about the 
mystery of Love. 

Suddenly she spread her brown wings 
for flight, and soared into the air. She 



44 




THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 



passed through the grove like a shadow, and 
like a shadow she sailed across the garden. 

In the centre of the grass-plot was standing 
a beautiful Rose-tree, and when she saw it she 
flew over to it, and lit upon a spray. 

" Give me a red rose," she cried, " and I 
will sing you my sweetest song." 

But the Tree shook its head. 

" My roses are white," it answered ; " as 
white as the foam of the sea, and whiter 
than the snow upon the mountain. But 
go to my brother who grows round the old 
sun-dial, and perhaps he will give you 
what you want." 

So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose- 
tree that was growing round the old sun-dial. 

" Give me a red rose," she cried, " and 
I will sing you my sweetest song." 

But the Tree shook its head. 

" My|roses are yellow," it answered ; 



as 




45 








THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 





yellow as the hair of the mermaiden who sits 
upon an amber throne, and yellower than the 
daffodil that blooms in the meadow before the 
mower comes with his scythe. But go to my 
brother who grows beneath the Student's 
window, and perhaps he will give you what 
you want." 

So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree 
that was growing beneath the Student's window. 

" Give me a red rose," she cried, a and I 
will sing you my sweetest song." 

But the Tree shook its head. 

cc My roses are red," it answered, " as red 
as the feet of the dove, and redder than the 
great fans of coral that wave and wave in the 
ocean-cavern. But the winter has chilled my 
veins, and the frost has nipped my buds, and 
the storm has broken my branches, and I shall 
have no roses at all this year." 

" One red rose is all I want," cried the 




THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 

Nightingale, " only one red rose ! Is there no 
way by which I can get it ? ' 

" There is a way," answered the Tree ; " but 
it is so terrible that I dare not tell it to you." 

" Tell it to me," said the Nightingale, " I 
am not afraid." 

" If you want a red rose," said the Tree, 
" you must build it out of music by moonlight, 
and stain it with your own heart's-blood. You 
must sing to me with your breast against a 
thorn. All night long you must sing to me, 
and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your 
life-blood must flow into my veins, and become 
mine." 

" Death is a great price to pay lor a red 
rose," cried the Nightingale, " and Life is very 
dear to all. It is pleasant to sit in the green 
wood, and to watch the Sun in his chariot of 
gold, and the Moon in her chariot of pearl. 
Sweet is the scent of the hawthorn, and sweet 



47 




THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 

are the bluebells that hide in the valley, and 
the heather that blows on the hill. Yet Love 
is better than Life, and what is the heart of a 
bird compared to the heart of a man ? ' 

So she spread her brown wings for flight, 
and soared into the air. She swept over the 
garden like a shadow, and like a shadow she 
sailed through the grove. 

The young Student was still lying on the 
grass, where she had left him, and the tears 
were not yet dry in his beautiful eyes. 

" Be happy," cried the Nightingale, " be 
happy ; you shall have your red rose. I will 
build it out of music by moonlight, and stain 
it with my own heart's-blood. All that I ask 
of you in return is that you will be a true lover, 
for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though he 
is wise, and mightier than Power, though he 
is mighty. Flame-coloured are his wings, and 
coloured like flame is his body. His lips are 





HIS LIPS ARE SWEET AS HONEY" 



THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 
sweet as honey, and his breath is like frank- 



incense.' 



The Student looked up from the grass, and 
listened, but he could not understand what the 
Nightingale was saying to him, for he only 
knew the things that are written down in books. 

But the Oak-tree understood, and felt sad, 
for he was very fond of the little Nightingale 
who had built her nest in his branches. 

" Sing me one last song," he whispered ; " I 
shall feel very lonely when you are gone." 

So the Nightingale sang to the Oak-tree, 
and her voice was like water bubbling from a 
silver jar. 

When she had finished her song, the Student 
got up, and pulled a note-book and a lead-pencil 
out of his pocket. 

" She has form," he said to himself, as he 
walked away through the grove " that cannot 

be denied to her ; but has she got feeling ? I 

49 G 




THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 

am afraid not. In fact, she is like most artists; 
she is all style without any sincerity. She 
would not sacrifice herself for others. She 
thinks merely of music, and everybody knows 
that the arts are selfish. Still, it must be ad- 
mitted that she has some beautiful notes in her 
voice. What a pity it is that they do not mean 
anything, or do any practical good ! ' And he 
went into his room, and lay down on his little 
pallet-bed, and began to think of his love ; and, 
after a time, he fell asleep. 

And when the Moon shone in the heavens 
the Nightingale flew to the Rose-tree, and set 
her breast against the thorn. All night long 
she sang with her breast against the thorn, and 
the cold crystal Moon leaned down and listened. 
All night long she sang and the thorn went 
deeper and deeper into her breast, and her life- 
blood ebbed away from her. 

She sang first of the birth of love in the 



THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 

heart of a boy and a girl. And on the top- 
most spray of the Rose-tree there blossomed 
a marvellous rose, petal following petal, as song 
followed song. Pale was it, at first, as the 
mist that hangs over the river pale as the feet 
of the morning, and silver as the wings of the 
dawn. As the shadow of a rose in a mirror of 
silver, as the shadow of a rose in a water-pool, 
so was the rose that blossomed on the topmost 
spray of the Tree. 

But the Tree cried to the Nightingale to 
press closer against the thorn. " Press closer, 
little Nightingale," cried the Tree, " or the 
Day will come before the rose is finished." 

So the Nightingale pressed closer against 
the thorn, and louder and louder grew her 
song, for she sang of the birth of passion in 
the soul of a man and a maid. 

And a delicate flush of pink came into the 

leaves of the rose, like the flush in the face of 

51 





THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 

the bridegroom when he kisses the lips of the 
bride. But the thorn had not yet reached her 
heart, so the rose's heart remained white, for 
only a Nightingale's heart's-blood can crimson 
the heart of a rose. 

And the Tree cried to the Nightingale to 
press closer against the thorn. " Press closer, 
little Nightingale," cried the Tree, " or the Day 
will come before the rose is finished." 

So the Nightingale pressed closer against the 
thorn, and the thorn touched her heart, and a 
fierce pang of pain shot through her. Bitter, 
bitter was the pain, and wilder and wilder grew 
her song, for she sang of the Love that is 
perfected by Death, of the Love that dies not 
in the tomb. 

And the marvellous rose became crimson, 
like the rose of the eastern sky. Crimson 
was the girdle of petals, and crimson as a 
ruby was the heart. 



THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 

But the Nightingale's voice grew fainter, and 
her little wings began to beat, and a film came 
over her eyes. Fainter and fainter grew her 
song, and she felt something choking her in 
her throat. 

Then she gave one last burst of music. The 
white Moon heard it, and she forgot the dawn, 
and lingered on in the sky. The red rose 
heard it, and it trembled all over with ecstasy, 
and opened its petals to the cold morning air. 
Echo bore it to her purple cavern in the hills, 
and woke the sleeping shepherds from their 
dreams. It floated through the reeds of the 
river, and they carried its message to the sea. 

" Look, look ! ' cried the Tree, " the rose is 
finished now ; ' but the Nightingale made no 
answer, for she was lying dead in the long grass, 
with the thorn in her heart. 

And at noon the Student opened his window 
and looked out. 

53 




THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 

" Why, what a wonderful piece of luck!' 
he cried ; " here is a red rose ! I have never 
seen any rose like it in all my life. It is so 
beautiful that I am sure it has a long Latin 
name ; ' and he leaned down and plucked it. 

Then he put on his hat, and ran up to the 
Professor's house with the rose in his hand. 

The daughter of the Professor was sitting in 
the doorway winding blue silk on a reel, and 
her little dog was lying at her feet. 

" You said that you would dance with me if 
I brought you a red rose," cried the Student. 
" Here is the reddest rose in all the world. 
You will wear it to-night next your heart, and 
as we dance together it will tell you how I 
love you." 

But the girl frowned. 
" I am afraid it will not go with 
my dress," she answered ; " and, 
besides, the Chamberlain's nephew 

54 




THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 

has sent me some real jewels, and everybody 
knows that jewels cost far more than flowers." 

" Well, upon my word, you are very un- 
grateful," said the Student angrily ; and he 
threw the rose into the street, where it fell into 
the gutter, and a cart-wheel went over it. 

" Ungrateful ! ' said the girl. " I tell you 
what, you are very rude ; and, after all, who 
are you ? Only a Student. Why, I don't 
believe you have even got silver buckles to 
your shoes as the Chamberlain's nephew has ; ' 
and she got up from her chair and went into 
the house. 

"What a silly thing Love is!" said the Student 
as he walked away. " It is not half as useful 
as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and 
it is always telling one of things that are not 
going to happen, and making one believe things 
that are not true. In fact, it is quite unpractical, 
and, as in this age to be practical is every- 



55 




THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE 

thing, I shall go back to Philosophy and study 
Metaphysics." 

So he returned to his room and pulled out 
a great dusty book, and began to read. 




THE 

SELFISH 

GIANT 






THE SELFISH GIANT 

VERY afternoon, as they 
were coming from school, 
the children used to go 
and play in the Giant's 
garden. 

It was a large lovely 
garden, with soft green 
grass. Here and there over the grass stood 
beautiful flowers like stars, and there were 
twelve peach-trees that in the spring-time broke 
out into delicate blossoms of pink and pearl, 




59 



THE SELFISH GIANT 

and in the autumn bore rich fruit. The birds 
sat on the trees and sang so sweetly that the 
children used to stop their games in order to 
listen to them. " How happy we are here ! ' 
they cried to each other. 

One day the Giant came back. He had 
been to visit his friend the Cornish ogre, and 
had stayed with him for seven years. After the 
seven years were over he had said all that he 
had to say, for his conversation was limited, 
and he determined to return to his own castle. 
When he arrived he saw the children playing 
in the garden. 

" What are you doing here ? ' ' he cried in a 
very gruff voice, and the children ran away. 

" My own garden is my own garden," said 
the Giant ; " any one can understand that, and 
I will allow nobody to play in it but myself." 
So he built a high wall all round it, and put 
up a notice-board. 



THE SELFISH GIANT 



TRESPASSERS 

WILL BE 

PROSECUTED 



He was a very selfish Giant. 

The poor children had now nowhere to play. 
They tried to play on the road, but the road 
was very dusty and full of hard stones, and they 
did not like it. They used to wander round 
the high wall when their lessons were over, and 
talk about the beautiful garden inside. " How 
happy we were there ! ' they said to each other. 

Then the Spring came, and all over the 
country there were little blossoms and little 
birds. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant 
it was still winter. The birds did not care to 
sing in it as there were no children, and the 
trees forgot to blossom. Once a beautiful flower 
put its head out from the grass, but when it saw 
the notice-board it was so sorry for the children 



61 




THE SELFISH GIANT 

that it slipped back into the ground again, and 
went off to sleep. The only people who were 
pleased were the Snow and the Frost. " Spring 
has forgotten this garden," they cried, " so we 
will live here all the year round." The Snow 
covered up the grass with her great white cloak, 
and the Frost painted all the trees silver. Then 
they invited the North Wind to stay with them, 
and he came. He was wrapped in furs, and 
he roared all day about the garden, and blew 
the chimney-pots down. " This is a delightful 
spot," he said, " we must ask the Hail on a 
visit." So the Hail came. Every day for three 
hours he rattled on the roof of the castle till he 
broke most of the slates, and then he ran round 
and round the garden as fast as he could go. 
He was dressed in grey, and his breath was 
like ice. 

" I cannot understand why the Spring is so 
late in coming," said the Selfish Giant, as he 



THE SELFISH GIANT 



sat at the window and looked out at his cold 
white garden; "I hope there will be a change 
in the weather." 

But the Spring never came, nor the Summer. 
The Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, 
but to the Giant's garden she gave none. " He 
is too selfish," she said. So it was always 
Winter there, and the North Wind and the 
Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about 
through the trees. 

One morning the Giant was lying awake in 
bed when he heard some lovely music. It 
sounded so sweet to his ears that he thought 
it must be the King's musicians passing by. It 
was really only a little linnet singing outside 
his window, but it was so long since he had 
heard a bird sing in his garden that it seemed 
to him to be the most beautiful music in the 
world. Then the Hail stopped dancing over 

his head, and the North Wind ceased roaring, 

63 




THE SELFISH GIANT 

and a delicious perfume came to him through 
the open casement. " I believe the Spring has 
come at last," said the Giant ; and he jumped 
out of bed and looked out. 

What did he see? 

He saw a most wonderful sight. Through 
a little hole in the wall the children had crept 
in, and they were sitting in the branches of the 
trees. In every tree that he could see there 
was a little child. And the trees were so glad 
to have the children back again that they had 
covered themselves with blossoms, and were 
waving their arms gently above the children's 
heads. The birds were flying about and twitter- 
ing with delight, and the flowers were looking 
up through the green grass and laughing. It 
was a lovely scene, only in one corner it was 
still winter. It was the farthest corner of the 
garden, and in it was standing a little boy. 

He was so small that he could not reach up to 

64 




IN EVERY TREE HE COULIJ SEE THERE WAS A LITTLE CHILD 



THE SELFISH GIANT 

the branches of the tree, and he was wandering 
all round it, crying bitterly. The poor tree 
was still quite covered with frost and snow, and 
the North Wind was blowing and roaring above 
it. " Climb up ! little boy," said the Tree, and 
it bent its branches down as low as it could ; 
but the boy was too tiny. 

And the Giant's heart melted as he looked 
out. " How selfish I have been ! ' he said ; 
" now I know why the Spring would not come 
here. I will put that poor little boy on the 
top of the tree, and then I will knock down the 
wall, and my garden shall be the children's 
playground for ever and ever." He was really 
very sorry for what he had done. 

So he crept downstairs and opened the front 
door quite softly, and went out into the garden. 
But when the children saw him they were so 
frightened that they all ran away, and the gar- 
den became winter again. Only the little boy 

6 5 i 



THE SELFISH GIANT 




did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears 
that he did not see the Giant coming. And 
the Giant stole up behind him and took him 
gently in his hand, and put him up into the 
tree. And the tree broke at once into blossom, 
and the birds came and sang on it, and the 
little boy stretched out his two arms and flung 
them round the Giant's neck, and kissed him. 
And the other children, when they saw that the 
Giant was not wicked any longer, came running 
back, and with them came the Spring. " It is 
your garden now, little children," said the 
Giant, and he took a great axe and knocked 
down the wall. And when the people were 
going to market at twelve o'clock they found 
the Giant playing with the children in the most 
beautiful garden they had ever seen. 

All day long they played, and in the evening 
they came to the Giant to bid him good-bye. 

" But where is your little companion?" he 



66 



THE SELFISH GIANT 

said : " the boy I put into the tree." The 
Giant loved him the best because he had kissed 
him. 

" We don't know," answered the children ; 
u he has gone away." 

" You must tell him to be sure and come 
here to-morrow," said the Giant. But the 
children said that they did not know where he 
lived, and had never seen him before; and the 
Giant felt very sad. 

Every afternoon, when school was over, the 
children came and played with the Giant. But 
the little boy whom the Giant loved was never 
seen again. The Giant was very kind to all 
the children, yet he longed for his first little 
friend, and often spoke of him. cc How I would 
like to see him ! ' he used to say. 

Years went over, and the Giant grew very 
old and feeble. He could not play about any 

more, so he sat in a huge armchair, and watched 

67 



THE SELFISH GIANT 

the children at their games, and admired his 
garden. u I have many beautiful flowers," he 
said ; " but the children are the most beautiful 
flowers of all." 

One winter morning he looked out of his 
window as he was dressing. He did not hate 
the winter now, for he knew that it was merely 
the Spring asleep, and that the flowers were 
resting. 

Suddenly he rubbed his eyes in wonder and 
looked and looked. It certainly was a marvel- 
lous sight. In the farthest corner of the garden 
was a tree quite covered with lovely white 
blossoms. Its branches were all golden, and 
silver fruit hung down from them, and under- 
neath it stood the little boy he had loved. 

Downstairs ran the Giant in great joy, and 
out into the garden. He hastened across the 
grass, and came near to the child. And when 
he came quite close his face grew red with 



68 

















c 

^-^ 'V . / T A ^S 



THE LITTLE BOY HE HAD LOVED 



THE SELFISH GIANT 

anger, and he said, " Who hath dared to wound 
thee ? 3 For on the palms of the child's hands 
were the prints of two nails, and the prints of 
two nails were on the little feet. 

a Who hath dared to wound thee ? ' cried 
the Giant ; " tell me, that I might take my big 
sword and slay him." 

" Nay ! " answered the child ; " but these are 
the wounds of Love." 

" Who art thou ? ' said the Giant, and a 
strange awe fell on him, and he knelt before 
the little child. 

And the child smiled on the Giant, and said 
to him, " You let me play once in your garden, 
to-day you shall come with me to my garden, 
which is Paradise." 

And when the children ran in that afternoon, 
they found the Giant lying dead under the tree, 
all covered with white blossoms. 




THE 

DEVOTED 

FRIEND 





THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

NE morning the old 
Water-rat put his head 
out of his hole. He had 
bright beady eyes and 
stiff grey whiskers and 
his tail was like a long 
bit of black india-rubber. 
The little ducks were swimming about in the 
pond, looking just like a lot of yellow canaries, 
and their mother, who was pure white with 
real red legs, was trying to teach them how 
to stand on their heads in the water. 

73 K 




THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

" You will never be in the best society 
unless you can stand on your heads," she kept 
saying to them ; and every now and then she 
showed them how it was done. But the little 
ducks paid no attention to her. They were 
so young that they did not know what an 
advantage it is to be in society at all. 

u What disobedient children ! " cried the old 
Water-rat; "they really deserve to be drowned." 

" Nothing of the kind," answered the Duck, 
" every one must make a beginning, and parents 
cannot be too patient." 

" Ah ! I know nothing about the feelings 
of parents," said the Water-rat ; " I am not 
a family man. In fact, I have never been 
married, and I never intend to be. Love is 
all very well in its way, but friendship is much 
higher. Indeed, I know of nothing in the 
world that is either nobler or rarer than a 
devoted friendship." 



74 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

" And what, pray, is your idea of the duties 
of a devoted friend ? ' asked a green Linnet, 
who was sitting in a willow-tree hard by, and 
had overheard the conversation. 

" Yes, that is just what I want to know," 
said the Duck; and she swam away to 
the end of the pond, and stood upon her 
head, in order to give her children a good 
example. 

" What a silly question ! 3 cried the Water- 
rat. " I should expect my devoted friend to 
be devoted to me, of course." 

u And what would you do in return ? ' 
said the little bird, swinging upon a silver 
spray, and flapping his tiny wings. 

" I don't understand you," answered the 
Water-rat. 

" Let me tell you a story on the subject," 
said the Linnet. 

" Is the story about me ? " asked the Water- 



75 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

rat. " If so, I will listen to it, for I am 
extremely fond of fiction." 

" It is applicable to you," answered the 
Linnet ; and he flew down, and alighting upon 
the bank, he told the story of The Devoted 
Friend. 

"Once upon a time," said the Linnet, " there 
was an honest little fellow named Hans." 

" Was he very distinguished ? ' asked the 
Water-rat. 

" No," answered the Linnet, " I don't think 
he was distinguished at all, except for his kind 
heart, and his funny round good-humoured 
face. He lived in a tiny cottage all by him- 
self, and every day he worked in his garden. 
In all the country-side there was no garden 
so lovely as his. Sweet-william grew there, 
and Gilly-flowers, and Shepherds'-purses, and 
Fair-maids of France. There were damask 

Roses, and yellow Roses, lilac Crocuses and 

76 





THE GREEN LINNET 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

gold, purple Violets and white. Columbine 
and Ladysmock, Marjoram and Wild Basil, the 
Cowslip and the Flower-de-luce, the Daffodil 
and the Clove-Pink bloomed or blossomed in 
their proper order as the months went by, one 
flower taking another flower's place, so that 
there were always beautiful things to look at, 
and pleasant odours to smell. 

" Little Hans had a great many friends, but 
the most devoted friend of all was big Hugh 
the Miller. Indeed, so devoted was the rich 
Miller to little Hans, that he would never go 
by his garden without leaning over the wall 
and plucking a large nosegay, or a handful of 
sweet herbs, or filling his pockets with plums 
and cherries if it was the fruit season. 

" c Real friends should have everything in 
common,' the Miller used to say, and little 
Hans nodded and smiled, and felt very proud 
of having a friend with such noble ideas. 



77 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

" Sometimes, indeed, the neighbours thought 
it strange that the rich Miller never gave little 
Hans anything in return, though he had a 
hundred sacks of flour stored away in his mill, 
and six milch cows, and a large flock of woolly 
sheep ; but Hans never troubled his head about 
these things, and nothing gave him greater 
pleasure than to listen to all the wonderful 
things the Miller used to say about the unselfish- 
ness of true friendship. 

" So little Hans worked away in his garden. 
During the spring, the summer, and the autumn 
he was very happy, but when the winter came, 
and he had no fruit or flowers to bring to the 
market, he suffered a good deal from 
cold and hunger, and often had to go 
to bed without any supper but a few 
dried pears or some hard nuts. In the 
winter, also, he was extremely lonely, 

as the Miller never came to see him then. 

78 




rv 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

" ' There is no good in my going to see little 
Hans as long as the snow lasts,' the Miller used 
to say to his wife, c for when people are in 
trouble they should be left alone and not be 
bothered by visitors. That at least is my idea 
about friendship, and I am sure I am right. 
So I shall wait till the spring comes, and then 
I shall pay him a visit, and he will be able to 
give me a large basket of primroses, and that 
will make him so happy.' 

" c You are certainly very thoughtful about 
others,' answered the Wife, as she sat in her 
comfortable armchair by the big pinewood 
fire ; c very thoughtful indeed. It is quite a 
treat to hear you talk about friendship. I am 
sure the clergyman himself could not say such 
beautiful things as you do, though he does 
live in a three-storied house, and wear a gold 
ring on his little finger.' 

" c But could we not ask little Hans up 



79 




THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

here ? ' said the Miller's youngest son. ' If 
poor Hans is in trouble I will give him half 
my porridge, and show him my white rabbits.' 
" ' What a silly boy you are ! ' cried the 
Miller ; ' I really don't know what is the use 
of sending you to school. You seem not to 
learn anything. Why, if little Hans came up 
here, and saw our warm fire, and our good 
supper, and our great cask of red wine, he 
might get envious, and envy is a most terrible 
thing, and would spoil anybody's nature. I 
certainly will not allow Hans' nature to be 
spoiled. I am his best friend, and I will 
always watch over him, and see that he is not 
led into any temptations. Besides, if Hans 
came here, he might ask me to let him have 
some flour on credit, and that I could not do. 
Flour is one thing and friendship is another, 
and they should not be confused. Why, 
the words are spelt differently, and mean 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

quite different things. Everybody can see 
that.' 

" c How well you talk ! : said the Miller's 
Wife, pouring herself out a large glass of warm 
ale ; ' really I feel quite drowsy. It is just 
like being in church.' 

" c Lots of people act well,' answered the 
Miller ; c but very few people talk well, which 
shows that talking is much the more difficult 
thing of the two, and much the finer thing also'; 
and he looked sternly across the table at his little 
son, who felt so ashamed of himself that he 
hung his head down, and grew quite scarlet, 
and began to cry into his tea. However, he 
was so young that you must excuse him." 

" Is that the end of the story ? ' asked the 
Water-rat. 

" Certainly not," answered the Linnet, " that 
is the beginning." 

Then you are quite behind the age," said 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 



the Water-rat. " Every good story-teller 
nowadays starts with the end, and then goes 
on to the beginning, and concludes with the 
middle. That is the new method. I heard 
all about it the other day from a critic who 
was walking round the pond with a young 
man. He spoke of the matter at great length, 
and I am sure he must have been right, for he 
had blue spectacles and a bald head, and when- 
ever the young man made any remark, he 
always answered ' Pooh!' But pray go on with 

your story. I like the Miller 
immensely. I have all kinds of 
beautiful sentiments myself, so 
there is a great sympathy between 
us." 

" Well," said the Linnet, hop- 
ping now on one leg and now 
on the other, " as soon as the 
winter was over, and the primroses 




THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

began to open their pale yellow stars, the Miller 
said to his wife that he would go down and see 
little Hans. 

" ' Why, what a good heart you have ! ' 
cried his Wife ; c you are always thinking of 
others. And mind you take the big basket 
with you for the flowers.' 

" So the Miller tied the sails of the windmill 
together with a strong iron chain, and went 
down the hill with the basket on his arm. 

"'Good morning, little Hans,' said the Miller. 

" c Good morning,' said Hans, leaning on 
his spade, and smiling from ear to ear. 

cc And how have you been all the winter ? ' 
said the Miller. 

" c Well, really,' cried Hans, c it is very good 
of you to ask, very good indeed. I am afraid 
I had rather a hard time of it, but now the 
spring has come, and I am quite happy, and 

all my flowers are doing well." 

83 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

" < We often talked of you during the winter, 
Hans,' said the Miller, c and wondered how 
you were getting on.' 

"' That was kind of you,' said Hans; C I 
was half afraid you had forgotten me.' 

" ' Hans, I am surprised at you,' said the 
Miller ; c friendship never forgets. That is 
the wonderful thing about it, but I am 
afraid you don't understand the poetry of life. 
How lovely your primroses are looking, 
by-the-bye ! ' 

" c They are certainly very lovely,' said 
Hans, ' and it is a most lucky thing for me 
that I have so many. I am going to bring 
them into the market and sell them to the 
Burgomaster's daughter, and buy back my 
wheelbarrow with the money.' 

" c Buy back your wheelbarrow ? You don't 
mean to say you have sold it ? What a very 

stupid thing to do ! : 

8 4 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

" c Well, the fact is,' said Hans, ' that I was 
obliged to. You see the winter was a very 
bad time for me, and I really had no money 
at all to buy bread with. So I first sold the 
silver buttons off my Sunday coat, and then I 
sold my silver chain, and then I sold my big 
pipe, and at last I sold my wheelbarrow. But 
I am going to buy them all back again 
now.' 

" c Hans,' said the Miller, ' I will give you 
my wheelbarrow. It is not in very good 
repair; indeed, one side is gone, and there is 
something wrong with the wheel-spokes ; but 
in spite of that I will give it to you. I know 
it is very generous of me, and a great many 
people would think me extremely foolish for 
parting with it, but I am not like the rest of 
the world. I think that generosity is the 
essence of friendship, and, besides, I have got 

a new wheelbarrow for myself. Yes, you may 

85 




THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

set your mind at ease, I will give you my 
wheelbarrow/ 

" ' Well, really, that is generous of you,' said 
little Hans, and his funny round face glowed 
all over with pleasure. c I can easily put 
it in repair, as I have a plank of wood in the 
house.' 

" c A plank of wood ! ' said the Miller ; 
c why, that is just what I want for the roof of 
my barn. There is a very large hole in it, 
and the corn will all get damp if I don't stop 
it up. How lucky you mentioned it 1 It is 
quite remarkable how one good action always 
breeds another. I have given you my wheel- 
barrow, and now you are going to give me 
your plank. Of course, the wheelbarrow is 
worth far more than the plank, but true friend- 
ship never notices things like that. Pray get 
it at once, and I will set to work at my barn 
this very day.' 



86 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

" c Certainly,' cried little Hans, and he ran 
into the shed and dragged the plank out. 

" It is not a very big plank,' said the 
Miller, looking at it, ' and I am afraid that 
after I have mended my barn-roof there won't 
be any left for you to mend the wheelbarrow 
with ; but, of course, that is not my fault. 
And now, as I have given you my wheelbarrow, 
I am sure you would like to give me some 
flowers in return. Here is the basket, and 
mind you fill it quite full.' 

" c Quite full ? ' said little Hans, rather 
sorrowfully, for it was really a very big basket, 
and he knew that if he filled it he would have 
no flowers left for the market, and he was 
very anxious to get his silver buttons back. 

" c Well, really,' answered the Miller, c as I 
have given you my wheelbarrow, I don't think 
that it is much to ask you for a few flowers. 
I may be wrong, but I should have thought 



87 





THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

that friendship, true friendship, was quite free 
from selfishness of any kind.' 

" ( My dear friend, my best friend,' cried 
little Hans, you are welcome to all the 
flowers in my garden. I would much sooner 
have your good opinion than my silver 
buttons, any day ; ' and he ran and plucked 
all his pretty primroses, and filled the Miller's 
basket. 

" ' Good-bye, little Hans,' said the Miller, 
as he went up the hill with the plank on his 
shoulder, and the big basket in his hand. 

" Good-bye,' said little Hans, and he began 
to dig away quite merrily, he was so pleased 
about the wheelbarrow. 

" The next day he was nailing up some 
honeysuckle against the porch, when he heard 
the Miller's voice calling to him from the road. 
So he jumped ofF the ladder, and ran down 
the garden, and looked over the wall. 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

" There was the Miller with a large sack 
of flour on his back. 

" c Dear little Hans,' said the Miller, c would 
you mind carrying this sack of flour for me 
to market ? ' 

" c Oh, I am so sorry,' said Hans, c but I am 
really very busy to-day. I have got all my 
creepers to nail up, and all my flowers to 
water, and all my grass to roll.' 

" c Well, really,' said the Miller, c I think 
that, considering that I am going to give you 
my wheelbarrow, it is rather unfriendly of you 
to refuse.' 

" ' Oh, don't say that,' cried little Hans, c I 
wouldn't be unfriendly for the whole world ; ' 
and he ran in for his cap, and trudged off with 
the big sack on his shoulders. 

" It was a very hot day, and the road was 
terribly dusty, and before Hans had reached 
the sixth milestone he was so tired that he had 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

to sit down and rest. However, he went on 
bravely, and at last he reached the market. 
After he had waited there some time, he sold 
the sack of flour for a very good price, and 
then he returned home at once, for he was 
afraid that if he stopped too late he might meet 
some robbers on the way. 

" ' It has certainly been a hard day,' said 
little Hans to himself as he was going to bed, 
c but I am glad I did not refuse the Miller, 
for he is my best friend, and, besides, he is 
going to give me his wheelbarrow. 5 

" Early the next morning the Miller came 
down to get the money for his sack of flour, 
but little Hans was so tired that he was still 
in bed. 

" ' Upon my word/ said the Miller, c you 
are very lazy. Really, considering that I am 
going to give you my wheelbarrow, I think 
you might work harder. Idleness is a great 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

sin, and I certainly don't like any of my friends 
to be idle or sluggish. You must not mind 
my speaking quite plainly to you. Of course 
I should not dream of doing so if I were not 
your friend. But what is the good of friend- 
ship if one cannot say exactly what one means? 
Anybody can say charming things and try to 
please and to flatter, but a true friend always 
says unpleasant things, and does not mind 
giving pain. Indeed, if he is a really true 
friend he prefers it, for he knows that then he 
is doing good.' 

" c I am very sorry,' said little Hans, rubbing 
his eyes and pulling ofT his night-cap, c but I 
was so tired that I thought I would lie in bed 
for a little time, and listen to the birds singing. 
Do you know that I always work better after 
hearing the birds sing ? ' 

" < Well, I am glad of that,' said the Miller, 
clapping little Hans on the back, c for I want 



9 1 




THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

you to come up to the mill as soon as you are 
dressed and mend my barn-roof for me.' 

" Poor little Hans was very anxious to go 
and work in his garden, for his flowers had 
not been watered for two days, but he did not 
like to refuse the Miller as he was such a good 
friend to him. 

" c Do you think it would be unfriendly of 
me if I said I was busy ? ' he inquired in a shy 
and timid voice. 

" c Well, really,' answered the Miller, C I do not 
think it is much to ask of you, considering that 
I am going to give you my wheelbarrow; but of 
course if you refuse I will go and do it myself.' 

" < Oh ! on no account,' cried little Hans; 
and he jumped out of bed, and dressed him- 
self, and went up to the barn. 

" He worked there all day long, till sunset, 
and at sunset the Miller came to see how he 

was getting on. 

92 




HANS IN HIS GARDEN 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

" c Have you mended the hole in the roof 
yet, little Hans ? ' cried the Miller in a cheery 
voice. 

" < It is quite mended,' answered little Hans, 
coming down the ladder. 

" * Ah ! ' said the Miller, c there is no work 
so delightful as the work one does for others.' 

" c It is certainly a great privilege to hear 
you talk,' answered little Hans, sitting down 
and wiping his forehead, c a very great privilege. 
But I am afraid I shall never have such beautiful 
ideas as you have.' 

" Oh ! they will come to you,' said the 
Miller, < but you must take more pains. At 
present you have only the practice of friend- 
ship ; some day you will have the theory also.' 

" 4 Do you really think I shall ? ' asked little 
Hans. 

" c I have no doubt of it,' answered the 
Miller, c but now that you have mended the 



93 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

roof, you had better go home and rest, for I 
want you to drive my sheep to the mountain 
to-morrow.' 

" Poor little Hans was afraid to say any- 
thing to this, and early the next morning the 
Miller brought his sheep round to the cottage, 
and Hans started off with them to the mountain. 
It took him the whole day to get there and 
back; and when he returned he was so tired 
that he went off to sleep in his chair, and did 
not wake up till it was broad daylight. 

" c What a delightful time I shall have in 
my garden! ' he said, and he went to work at 
once. 

" But somehow he was never able to look 
after his flowers at all, for his friend the 
Miller was always coming round and sending 
him off on long errands, or getting him to 
help at the mill. Little Hans was very much 
distressed at times, as he was afraid his flowers 

94 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

would think he had forgotten them, but he 
consoled himself by the reflection that the 
Miller was his best friend. c Besides,' he used 
to say, ( he is going to give me his wheelbarrow, 
and that is an act of pure generosity.' 

u So little Hans worked away for the Miller, 
and the Miller said all kinds of beautiful things 
about friendship, which Hans took down in 
a notebook, and used to read over at night, 
for he was a very good scholar. 

cc Now it happened that one evening little 
Hans was sitting by his fireside when a loud 
rap came at the door. It was a very wild 
night, and the wind was blowing and roaring 
round the house so terribly that at first he 
thought it was merely the storm. But a second 
rap came, and then a third, louder than any of 
the others. 

" c It is some poor traveller,' said little Hans 
to himself, and he ran to the door. 

95 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

" There stood the Miller with a lantern in 
one hand and a big stick in the other. 

" c Dear little Hans,' cried the Miller, c I am 
in great trouble. My little boy has fallen off 
a ladder and hurt himself, and I am going for 
the Doctor. But he lives so far away, and it 
is such a bad night, that it has just occurred 
to me that it would be much better if you 
went instead of me. You know I am going 
to give you my wheelbarrow, and so it is only 
fair that you should do something for me in 
return.' 

" ( Certainly,' cried little Hans, c I take it 
quite as a compliment your coming to me, 
and I will start off at once. But you must 
lend me your lantern, as the night is so dark 
that I am afraid I might fall into the ditch.' 

" c I am very sorry/ answered the Miller, 
c but it is my new lantern and it would be a 

great loss to me if anything happened to it.' 

96 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

" ' Well, never mind, I will do without it,' 
cried little Hans, and he took down his great 
fur coat, and his warm scarlet cap, and tied a 
muffler round his throat, and started off. 

" What a dreadful storm it was ! The night 
was so black that little Hans could hardly see, 
and the wind was so strong that he could 
scarcely stand. However, he was very coura- 
geous, and after he had been walking about 
three hours, he arrived at the Doctor's house, 
and knocked at the door. 

" Who is there ? ' cried the Doctor, putting 
his head out of his bedroom window. 

cc c Little Hans, Doctor.' 

" ' What do you want, little Hans ? 3 

" c The Miller's son has fallen from a ladder, 
and has hurt himself, and the Miller wants 
you to come at once.' 

" c All right ! ' said the Doctor ; and he 
ordered his horse, and his big boots, and his 

97 N 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

lantern, and came downstairs, and rode oft in 
the direction of the Miller's house, little Hans 
trudging behind him. 

u But the storm grew worse and worse, and 
the rain fell in torrents, and little Hans could 
not see where he was going, or keep up with 
the horse. At last he lost his way, and wan- 
dered off on the moor, which was a very 
dangerous place, as it was full of deep holes, 
and there poor little Hans was drowned. His 
body was found the next day by some goat- 
herds, floating in a great pool of water, and 
was brought back by them to the cottage. 

" Everybody went to little Hans' funeral, 
as he was so popular, and the Miller was the 
chief mourner. 

" c As I was his best friend/ said the Miller, 
c it is only fair that I should have the best 
place ; ' so he walked at the head of the pro- 
cession in a long black cloak, and every now 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

and then he wiped his eyes with a big pocket- 
handkerchief. 

" c Little Hans is certainly a great loss to 
every one,' said the Blacksmith, when the 
funeral was over, and they were all seated 
comfortably in the inn, drinking spiced wine 
and eating sweet cakes. 

" c A great loss to me at any rate/ answered 
the Miller, ' why, I had as good as given him 
my wheelbarrow, and now I really don't know 
what to do with it. It is very much in my 
way at home, and it is in such bad repair that 
I could not get anything for it if I sold it. 
I will certainly take care not to give away 
anything again. One always suffers for being 
generous.' 

" Well? " said the Water-rat, after a long pause. 
" Well, that is the end," said the Linnet. 
"But what became of the Miller?' asked 
the Water-rat. 

99 




THE DEVOTED FRIEND 



" Oh ! I really don't know," replied the 
Linnet ; " and I am sure that I don't care." 

" It is quite evident then that you have no 
sympathy in your nature," said the Water-rat. 

" I am afraid you don't quite see the moral 
of the story," remarked the Linnet. 

" The what ? " screamed the Water-rat. 

" The moral." 

" Do you mean to say that the story has a 
moral ? ' 

" Certainly," said the Linnet. 

" Well, really," said the Water-rat, in a very 
angry manner, " I think you should have told 
me that before you began. If you had done 
so, I certainly would not have listened to you ; 
in fact, I should have said c Pooh,' like the 
critic. However, I can say it now ; ' ' so he 
shouted out " Pooh " at the top of his voice, 
gave a whisk with his tail, and went back into 
his hole. 



IOO 



THE DEVOTED FRIEND 

" And how do you like the Water-rat ? " 
asked the Duck, who came paddling up some 
minutes afterwards. " He has a great many 
good points, but for my own part I have a 
mother's feelings, and I can never look at a 
confirmed bachelor without the tears coming 
into my eyes." 

" I am rather afraid that I have annoyed 
him," answered the Linnet. " The fact is, that 
I told him a story with a moral." 

" Ah ! that is always a very dangerous thing 
to do," said the Duck. 

And I quite agree with her. 






THE 

REMARKABLE 

ROCKET 






THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 




* * 



HE King's son was going 
to be married, so there 
were general rejoicings. 
He had waited a whole 
year for his bride, and 
at last she had arrived. 
She was a Russian Prin- 
cess, and had driven all the way from Finland in 
a sledge drawn by six reindeer. The sledge was 
shaped like a great golden swan, and between 
the swan's wings lay the little Princess herself. 
Her long ermine cloak reached right down to 



105 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

her feet, on her head was a tiny cap of silver 
tissue, and she was as pale as the Snow Palace 
in which she had always lived. So pale was 
she that as she drove through the streets all the 
people wondered. " She is like a white rose !' 
they cried, and they threw down flowers on her 
from the balconies. 

At the gate of the Castle the Prince was 

o 

waiting to receive her. He had dreamy violet 
eyes, and his hair was like fine gold. When 
he saw her he sank upon one knee, and kissed 
her hand. 

" Your picture was beautiful," he murmured, 
"but you are more beautiful than your picture; ' 
and the little Princess blushed. 

" She was like a white rose before," said a 
young page to his neighbour, " but she is like 
a red rose now ; ' and the whole Court was 
delighted. 

For the next three days everybody went 



106 





THE RUSSIAN PRINCESS 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

about saying, "White rose, Red rose, Red rose, 
White rose ; " and the King gave orders that the 
Page's salary was to be doubled. As he received 
no salary at all this was not of much use to him, 
but it was considered a great honour, and was 
duly published in the Court Gazette. 

When the three days were over the marriage 
was celebrated. It was a magnificent ceremony, 
and the bride and bridegroom walked hand in 
hand under a canopy of purple velvet em- 
broidered with little pearls. Then there was a 
State Banquet, which lasted for five hours. 
The Prince and Princess sat at the top of the 
Great Hall and drank out of a cup of clear 
crystal. Only true lovers could drink out of 
this cup, for if false lips touched it, it grew 
grey and dull and cloudy. 

" It is quite clear that they love each other," 
said the little Page, " as clear as crystal ! ' and 
the King doubled his salary a second time. 



107 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

" What an honour ! cried all the courtiers. 

After the banquet there was to be a Ball. 
The bride and bridegroom were to dance the 
Rose-dance together, and the King had prom- 
ised to play the flute. He played very badly, 
but no one had ever dared to tell him so, 
because he was the King. Indeed, he knew 
only two airs, and was never quite certain which 
one he was playing ; but it made no matter, 
for, whatever he did, everybody cried out, 
" Charming ! charming ! ' 

The last item on the programme was a grand 
display of fireworks, to be let ofF exactly at 
midnight. The little Princess had never seen 
a firework in her life, so the King had given 
orders that the Royal Pyrotechnist should be 
in attendance on the day of her marriage. 

c< What are fireworks like ? ' she had asked 
the Prince, one morning, as she was walking 
on the terrace. 

108 




THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

" They are like the Aurora Borealis," said 
the King, who always answered questions that 
were addressed to other people, " only much 
more natural. I prefer them to stars myself, 
as you always know when they are going to 
appear, and they are as delightful as my own 
flute-playing. You must certainly see them." 

So at the end of the King's garden a great 
stand had been set up, and as soon as the Royal 
Pyrotechnist had put everything in its proper 
place, the fireworks began to talk to each 
other. 

" The world is certainly very beautiful," 
cried a little Squib. " Just look at those yellow 
tulips. Why ! if they were real Crackers they 
could not be lovelier. I am very glad I have 
travelled. Travel improves the mind wonder- 
fully, and does away with all one's prejudices." 

" The King's garden is not the world, you 
foolish Squib," said a big Roman Candle ; " the 



109 




' " THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

world is an enormous place, and it would take 
you three days to see it thoroughly." 

" Any place you love is the world to you," 
exclaimed the pensive Catherine Wheel, who 
had been attached to an old deal box in early 
life, and prided herself on her broken heart; 
"but love is not fashionable any more, the poets 
have killed it. They wrote so much about it 
that nobody believed them, and I am not sur- 
prised. True love suffers, and is silent. I 

remember myself once But it is no matter 

now. Romance is a thing of the past." 

" Nonsense !" said the Roman Candle, "Ro- 
mance never dies. It is like the moon, and 
lives for ever. The bride and bridegroom, for 
instance, love each other very dearly. I heard all 
about them this morning from a brown-paper 
cartridge, who happened to be staying in the 
same drawer as myself, and he knew the latest 
Court news." 



1 10 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

But the Catherine Wheel shook her head. 
" Romance is dead, Romance is dead, Romance 
is dead," she murmured. She was one of those 
people who think that, if you say the same thing 
over and over a great many times, it becomes 
true in the end. 

Suddenly, a sharp, dry cough was heard, and 
they all looked round. 

It came from a tall, supercilious-looking 
Rocket, who was tied to the end of a long 
stick. He always coughed before he made any 
observation, so as to attract attention. 

" Ahem ! ahem ! ' he said, and everybody 
listened except the poor Catherine Wheel, who 
was still shaking her head, and murmuring, 
" Romance is dead." 

" Order ! order ! " cried out a Cracker. He was 
something of a politician, and had always taken a 
prominent part in the local elections, so he knew 
the proper Parliamentary expressions to use. 



V 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

" Quite dead," whispered the Catherine 
Wheel, and she went off to sleep. 

As soon as there was perfect silence, the 
Rocket coughed a third time and began. He 
spoke with a very slow, distinct voice, as if he 
was dictating his memoirs, and always looked 
over the shoulder of the person to whom he was 
talking. In fact, he had a most distinguished 
manner. 

" How fortunate it is for the King's son," 
he remarked, " that he is to be married on the 
very day on which I am to be let off! Really, 
if it had been arranged beforehand, it could 
not have turned out better for him ; but Princes 
are always lucky." 

" Dear me! " said the little Squib, "I thought 
it was quite the other way, and that we were 
to be let off in the Prince's honour." 

" It may be so with you," he answered ; 
" indeed, I have no doubt that it is, but with 

112 



** 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

me it is different. I am a very remarkable 4 
Rocket, and come of remarkable parents. My * 

mother was the most celebrated Catherine Wheel * * 

T|T ^ 

of her day, and was renowned for her graceful 
dancing. When she made her great public 
appearance she spun round nineteen times before * * 

she went out, and each time that she did so she 
threw into the air seven pink stars. She was 
three feet and a half in diameter, and made of 
the very best gunpowder. My father was a 
Rocket like myself, and of French extraction. 
He flew so high that the people were afraid that 
he would never come down again. He did, 
though, for he was of a kindly disposition, and 
he made a most brilliant descent in a shower of 
golden rain. The newspapers wrote about his 
performance in very flattering terms. Indeed, 
the Court Gazette called him a triumph of 
Pylotechnic art." 

" Pyrotechnic, Pyrotechnic, you mean," said 



X 



* * 
. * 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

a Bengal Light ; " I know it is Pyrotechnic, for 
I saw it written on my own canister." 

" Well, I said Pylotechnic," answered the 
Rocket, in a severe tone of voice, and the 
Bengal Light felt so crushed that he began at 
once to bully the little squibs, in order to show 
that he was still a person of some importance. 

" I was saying," continued the Rocket, " I 
was saying What was I saying ? 

" You were talking about yourself," replied 
the Roman Candle. 

" Of course ; I knew I was discussing some 
interesting subject when I was so rudely inter- 
rupted. I hate rudeness and bad manners of 
every kind, for I am extremely sensitive. No 
one in the whole world is so sensitive as I am, 
I am quite sure of that." 

" What is a sensitive person ? : said the 
Cracker to the Roman Candle. 

" A person who, because he has corns 




THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

himself, always treads on other people's toes," 
answered the Roman Candle in a low whisper ; 
and the Cracker nearly exploded with laughter. 

" Pray, what are you laughing at ? " inquired 
the Rocket ; cc I am not laughing." 

" I am laughing because I am happy," replied 
the Cracker. 

" That is a very selfish reason," said the 
Rocket angrily. " What right have you to be 
happy ? You should be thinking about others. 
In fact, you should be thinking about me. I 
am always thinking about myself, and I expect 
everybody else to do the same. That is what 
is called sympathy. It is a beautiful virtue, and 
I possess it in a high degree. Suppose, for 
instance, anything happened to me to-night, 
what a misfortune that would be for every one ! 
The Prince and Princess would never be happy 
again, their whole married life would be spoiled; 
and as for the King, I know he would not get 

"5 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

over it. Really, when I begin to reflect on 

the importance of my position, I am almost 

moved to tears." 

" If you want to give pleasure to others," 

cried the Roman Candle, " you had better keep 

yourself dry." 

" Certainly," exclaimed the Bengal Light, 

who was now in better spirits ; " that is only 

common sense." 

" Common sense, indeed ! " said the Rocket 
indignantly ; " you forget that I am very un- 
common, and very remarkable. Why, anybody 
can have common sense, provided that they 
have no imagination. But I have imagination, 
for I never think of things as they really are ; 
I always think of them as being quite different. 
As for keeping myself dry, there is evidently 
no one here who can at all appreciate an 
emotional nature. Fortunately for myself, I 
don't care. The only thing that sustains one 



116 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

through life is the consciousness of the immense 
inferiority of everybody else, and this is a 
feeling I have always cultivated. 
But none of you have any hearts. 
Here you are laughing and making 
merry just as if the Prince and 
Princess hadnot just been married." 

" Well, really," exclaimed a 
small Fire-balloon, " why not ? 
It is a most joyful occasion, and 
when I soar up into the air I 
intend to tell the stars all about it. 
You will see them twinkle when I talk to them 
about the pretty bride." 

" Ah ! what a trivial view of life ! ' said the 
Rocket ; " but it is only what I expected. 
There is nothing in you ; you are hollow and 
empty. Why, perhaps the Prince and Princess 
may go to live in a country where there is a 
deep river, and perhaps they may have one only 




117 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

son, a little fair-haired boy with violet eyes like 
the Prince himself; and perhaps some day he 
may go out to walk with his nurse ; and perhaps 
the nurse may go to sleep under a great elder- 
tree ; and perhaps the little boy may fall into 
the deep river and be drowned. What a terrible 
misfortune ! Poor people, to lose their only 
son ! It is really too dreadful ! I shall never 
get over it." 

" But they have not lost their only son," 
said the Roman Candle ; " no misfortune has 
happened to them at all." 

" I never said that they had," replied the 
Rocket ; " I said that they might. If they had 
lost their only son there would be no use in 
saying anything more about the matter. I hate 
people who cry over spilt milk. But when I 
think that they might lose their only son, I 
certainly am much affected." 

" You certainly are!" cried the Bengal Light. 



118 




THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

" In fact, you are the most affected person I 
ever met." 

" You are the rudest person I ever met," said 
the Rocket, " and you cannot understand my 
friendship for the Prince." 

" Why, you don't even know him," growled 
the Roman Candle. 

u I never said I knew him," answered the 
Rocket. cc I dare say that if I knew him I 
should not be his friend at all. It is a very 
dangerous thing to know one's friends.' 

" You had really better keep yourself dry," 
said the Fire-balloon. " That is the important 
thing." 

" Very important for you, I have no doubt," 
answered the Rocket, " but I shall weep if I 
choose;' and he actually burst into real tears, 
which flowed down his stick like rain- drops, 
and nearly drowned two little beetles, who 
were just thinking of setting up house together, 



119 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

and were looking for a nice dry spot to live in. 

" He must have a truly romantic nature," 
said the Catherine Wheel, " for he weeps when 
there is nothing at all to weep about ; " and she 
heaved a deep sigh and thought about the deal 
box. 

But the Roman Candle and the Bengal Light 
were quite indignant, and kept saying, " Hum- 
bug ! humbug ! ' at the top of their voices. 
They were extremely practical, and whenever 
they objected to anything they called it humbug. 

Then the moon rose like a wonderful silver 
shield ; and the stars began to shine, and a 
sound of music came from the palace. 

The Prince and Princess were leading the 
dance. They danced so beautifully that the 
tall white lilies peeped in at the window and 
watched them, and the great red poppies nodded 
their heads and beat time. 

Then ten o'clock struck, and then eleven, 



120 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

and then twelve, and at the last stroke of mid- 
night every one came out on the terrace, and the 
King sent for the Royal Pyrotechnist. 

" Let the fireworks begin," said the King ; 
and the Royal Pyrotechnist made a low bow, 
and marched down to the end of the garden. 
He had six attendants with him, each of whom 
carried a lighted torch at the end of a long 
pole. 

It was certainly a magnificent display. 

Whizz ! Whizz ! went the Catherine Wheel, 
as she spun round and round. Boom! Boom! 
went the Roman Candle. Then the Squibs 
danced all over the place, and the Bengal 
Lights made everything look scarlet. " Good- 
bye," cried the Fire-balloon as he soared away, 
dropping tiny blue sparks. Bang ! Bang ! 
answered the Crackers, who were enjoying 
themselves immensely. Every one was a great 
success except the Remarkable Rocket. He 



121 Q 





THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

was so damp with crying that he could not go 
off at all. The best thing in him was the 
gunpowder, and that was so wet with tears 
that it was of no use. All his poor relations, 
to whom he would never speak, except with a 
sneer, shot up into the sky like wonderful 
golden flowers with blossoms of fire. Huzza ! 
Huzza ! cried the Court ; and the little Princess 
laughed with pleasure. 

" I suppose they are reserving me for some 
grand occasion," said the Rocket ; " no doubt 
that is what it means," and he looked more 
supercilious than ever. 

The next day the workmen came to put 
everything tidy. " This is evidently a depu- 
tation," said the Rocket ; " I will receive them 
with becoming dignity": so he put his nose in 
the air, and began to frown severely as if he 
were thinking about some very important 
subject. But they took no notice of him at 



122 




' : LET THE FIREWORKS BEGIN," SAH> THE KING 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

all till they were just going away. Then one 
of them caught sight of him. " Hallo ! ' he 
cried, " what a bad rocket ! 3 and he threw 
him over the wall into the ditch. 

" BAD Rocket ? BAD Rocket ? " he said, as he 
whirled through the air ; a impossible ! GRAND 
Rocket, that is what the man said. BAD and 
GRAND sound very much the same, indeed they 
often are the same ; " and he fell into the mud. 

" It is not comfortable here," he remarked, 
" but no doubt it is some fashionable watering- 
place, and they have sent me away to recruit 
my health. My nerves are certainly very 
much shattered, and I require rest." 

Then a little Frog, with bright jewelled 
eyes, and a green mottled coat, swam up to 
him. 

" A new arrival, I see ! " said the Frog. 
a Well, after all there is nothing like mud. 
Give me rainy weather and a ditch, and I am 



12- 




THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

quite happy. Do you think it will be a wet 
afternoon ? I am sure I hope so, but the sky 
is quite blue and cloudless. What a pity!' 

" Ahem ! ahem ! ' said the Rocket, and he 
began to cough. 

" What a delightful voice you have ! : cried 
the Frog. " Really it is quite like a croak, 
and croaking is of course the most musical 
sound in the world. You will hear our glee- 
club this evening. We sit in the old duck 
pond close by the farmer's house, and as soon 
as the moon rises we begin. It is so entrancing 
that everybody lies awake to listen to us. In 
fact, it was only yesterday that I heard the 
farmer's wife say to her mother that she could 
not get a wink of sleep at night on account of us. 
It is most gratifying to find oneself so popular." 

" Ahem ! ahem ! ' ' said the Rocket angrily. 
He was very much annoyed that he could not 

get a word in. 

124 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

" A delightful voice, certainly," continued 
the Frog ; " I hope you will come over to the 
duck-pond. I am off to look for my daughters. 
I have six beautiful daughters, and I am so afraid 
the Pike may meet them. He is a perfect 
monster, and would have no hesitation in 
breakfasting off them. Well, good-bye : I have 
enjoyed our conversation very much, I assure 
you." 

" Conversation, indeed !' said the Rocket. 
" You have talked the whole time yourself. 
That is not conversation." 

" Somebody must listen," answered the Frog 5 
" and I like to do all the talking myself. It 
saves time, and prevents arguments." 

" But I like arguments," said the Rocket. 

" I hope not," said the Frog complacently. 
" Arguments are extremely vulgar, for every body 
in good society holds exactly the same opinions. 
Good-bye a second time ; I see my daughters 



125 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

in the distance ; ' and the little Frog swam 
away. 

" You are a very irritating person," said the 
Rocket, " and very ill-bred. I hate people who 
talk about themselves, as you do, when one 
wants to talk about oneself, as I do. It is what 
I call selfishness, and selfishness is a most de- 
testable thing, especially to any one of my 
temperament, for I am well known for my 
sympathetic nature. In fact, you should take 
example by me ; you could not possibly have 
a better model. Now that you have the chance 
you had better avail yourself of it, for I am 
going back to Court almost immediately. I am 
a great favourite at Court ; in fact, the Prince 
and Princess were married yesterday in my 
honour. Of course you know nothing of these 
matters, for you are a provincial." 

u There is no good talking to him," said a 
dragon-fly, who was sitting on the top of a 



126 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

large brown bulrush ; " no good at all, for he 
has gone away." 

" Well, that is his loss, not mine," answered 
the Rocket. " I am not going to stop talking 
to him merely because he pays no attention. 
I like hearing myself talk. It is one of my 
greatest pleasures. I often have long conver- 
sations all by myself, and I am so clever that 
sometimes I don't understand a single word of 
what I am saying." 

" Then you should certainly lecture on 
Philosophy," said the Dragon-fly, and he spread 
a pair of lovely gauze wings and soared away 
into the sky. 

" How very silly of him not to stay here ! ' 
said the Rocket. " I am sure that he has not 
often got such a chance of improving his mind. 
However, I don't care a bit. Genius like mine 
is sure to be appreciated some day; "and he sank 
down a little deeper into the mud. 



127 




THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

After some time a large White Duck swam 
up to him. She had yellow legs, and webbed 
feet, and was considered a great beauty on 
account of her waddle. 

" Quack, quack, quack," she said. " What 
a curious shape you are ! May I ask were 
you born like that, or is it the result of an 
accident ? ' 

" It is quite evident that you have always 
lived in the country," answered the Rocket, 
" otherwise you would know who I am. How- 
ever, I excuse your ignorance. It would be 
unfair to expect other people to be as remark- 
able as oneself. You will no doubt be surprised 
to hear that I can fly up into the sky, and come 
down in a shower of golden rain." 

" I don't think much of that," said the Duck, 
"as I cannot see what use it is to any one. Now, 
if you could plough the fields like the ox, or 

draw a cart like the horse, or look after the 

128 

I / 

llr di Juj. 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

sheep like the collie -dog, that would be 
something." 

" My good creature," cried the Rocket in a 
very haughty tone of voice, " I see that you 
belong to the lower orders. A person of my 
position is never useful. We have certain ac- 
complishments, and that is more than sufficient. 
I have no sympathy myself with industry of 
any kind, least of all with such industries as 
you seem to recommend. Indeed, I have 
always been of opinion that hard work is 
simply the refuge of people who have nothing 
whatever to do." 

" Well, well," said the Duck, who was of a 
very peaceable disposition, and never quarrelled 
with any one, " everybody has different tastes. 
I hope, at any rate, that you are going to take 
up your residence here." 

" Oh ! dear no," cried the Rocket. " I am 
merely a visitor, a distinguished visitor. The 



129 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

fact is that I find this place rather tedious. 
There is neither society here, nor solitude. In 
fact, it is essentially suburban. I shall probably 
go back to Court, for I know that I am destined 

D * 

to make a sensation in the world." 

" I had thoughts of entering public life once 
myself," remarked the Duck ; " there are so 
many things that need reforming. Indeed, I 
took the chair at a meeting some time ago, and 
we passed resolutions condemning everything 
that we did not like. However, they did not 
seem to have much effect. Now I go in for 
domesticity, and look after my family." 

" I am made for public life," said the Rocket, 
"and so are all my relations, even the humblest 
of them. Whenever we appear we excite great 
attention. I have not actually appeared myself, 
but when I do so it will be a magnificent sight. 
As for domesticity, it ages one rapidly, and 
distracts one's mind from higher things." 



130 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

" Ah! the higher things of life, how fine they 
are ! ' said the Duck ; " and that reminds me 
how hungry I feel:" and she swam away down 
the stream, saying, " Quack, quack, quack." 

" Come back ! come back ! ' screamed the 
Rocket, " I have a great deal to say to you ; ' 
but the Duck paid no attention to him. " I am 
glad that she has gone," he said to himself, 
" she has a decidedly middle-class mind; " and 
he sank a little deeper still into the mud, and 
began to think about the loneliness of genius, 
when suddenly two little boys in white smocks 
came running down the bank, with a kettle and 
some faggots. 

" This must be the 
deputation," said the 
Rocket, and he tried to 
look very dignified. 

" Hallo ! ' cried one 
of the boys, a look at 




THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

this old stick! I wonder how it came here;' 
and he picked the Rocket out of the ditch. 

"OLD Stick! " said the Rocket, "impossible! 
GOLD Stick, that is what he said. Gold Stick 
is very complimentary. In fact, he mistakes 
me for one of the Court dignitaries ! : 

" Let us put it into the fire ! " said the other 
boy, " it will help to boil the kettle." 

So they piled the faggots together, and put 
the Rocket on top, and lit the fire. 

" This is magnificent," cried the Rocket, 
" they are going to let me off in broad daylight, 
so that everyone can see me." 

" We will go to sleep now," they said, " and 
when we wake up the kettle will be boiled ; ' 
and they lay down on the grass, and shut their 
eyes. 

The Rocket was very damp, so he took a 
long time to burn. At last, however, the fire 

caught him. 

132 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

" Now I am going off ! " he cried, and he 
made himself very stiff and straight. " I know 
I shall go much higher than the stars, much 
higher than the moon, much higher than the 
sun. In fact, I shall go so high that ' 

Fizz ! Fizz ! Fizz ! and he went straight up 
into the air. 

" Delightful," he cried, " I shall go on like 
this for ever. What a success I am ! 3 

But nobody saw him. 

Then he began to feel a curious tingling 
sensation all over him. 

" Now I am going to explode," he cried. 
" I shall set the whole world on fire, and make 
such a noise that nobody will talk about any- 
thing else for a whole year." And he certainly 
did explode. Bang ! Bang ! Bang ! went the 
gunpowder. There was no doubt about it. 

But nobody heard him, not even the two 
little boys, for they were sound asleep. 



133 



THE REMARKABLE ROCKET 

Then all that was left of him was the stick, 
and this fell down on the back of a Goose who 
was taking a walk by the side of the ditch. 

" Good heavens ! " cried the Goose. " It is 
going to rain sticks;" and she rushed into the 
water. 

" I knew I should create a great sensation," 
gasped the Rocket, and he went out. 




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LONDON AND AYLESBURY.